Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Justice League of America/Doom Patrol #1 Review and **SPOILERS**

It Does a Reality Good

Writers: Steve Orlando & Gerard Way
Illustrator: Aco, Hugo Petrus 
Colorists: Tamra Bonvillain & Marissa Louise 
Letterer: Clem Robins 
Special Thanks to: David Lorenzo Riveiro 
Back-Up Script: Magdalene Visaggio 
Back-Up Art & Color: Sonny Liew 
Back-Up Letters: Todd Klein 
Cover: Frank Quitely 
Cover Price: $4.99 
On Sale Date: January 31, 2018


Here it is folks! The super-duper comic book crossover event we’ve all been waiting for! No, not that other one we’re currently reading and which has been kicked to a bi-monthly schedule, and not that other one that we’re also waiting for but looks to finish up this year despite a bunch of spin-offs already coming out, I mean this crossover event, between DC Comics and its imprint Young Animal, which they’ve been calling “Milk Wars.” So how’s the opening salvo of this war? Check out my review of Justice League America/Doom Patrol #1 and find out!

Explain It!

One of the funniest things to do is look back at movies and television shows from my childhood and laugh at what everyone is wearing. We used to do that then, of course: deride the flowery fashions of the 1960s or the staid, fedora wearing of the 1950s, while pegging the cuffs of our Bugle Boy jeans and slipping a hot pink Ocean Pacific t-shirt over our developing bodies. That stuff all looked normal back then: shoulder pads in sweaters, wraparound slim sunglasses, sneakers the size of Volkswagen Bugs left unlaced and flopping on our stripe-socked feet. We thought we were at the pinnacle of fashion, and that there could be no advancements beyond pushing the sleeves of our sports jackets up to our elbows. Of course, we were wrong, and that’s easy to determine in hindsight. It was only in the moment, while engaging in groupthink, that we accepted what would become the fashion faux pas of the 1980s.
The mysterious company Retconn counts on this tendency, and before selling off a certain type of reality, they might fire some kind of thematically-charged missile, turning wherever it is fired into, oh I dunno, the backyard of Sugar and Spike or Aquaman’s bungalow or something. In this case, the missile transforms the folks at Happy Harbor, Rhode Island into staid mid-20th Century suburban stereotypes, complete with party dresses, cardigan sweaters, and pipes—and that includes the members of the Justice League America. You think you’ve seen everything, and then you see Lobo dressed up by Father Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. This veneer is maintained by regular doses of mood-altering milk, delivered by a caped Milkman, who is actually a facsimile of Superman under heavy mind control. Or something. This is more or less the situation that the Doom Patrol just blasted into at the end of issue #10…though I get the sneaking suspicion that Doom Patrol #11 would/will fill in some important story gaps here.
When the entire Justice League of America shows up looking like they’re headed to the Sock Hop, and they call themselves the Community League of Rhode Island, we have some good and weird high-flying action. While they mix it up, the, uh, reality broker at Retconn explains that superheroes descend from the god of superheroics, Ahl, and as most are at least once removed, they can be transmuted. But Superman is a direct descendant, so they couldn’t directly port him into this bizarre 1950s hellscape. At that moment, Crazy Jane calls forth a personality that can make any art real, and when applied to the situation in Happy Harbor, it shows everyone that they are the subjects of comic books, which snaps them from their reveries—except for the Milkman, who has no other personality, he just looks like Superman. Turns out he is the offspring of Casey Brinke and Terry None—born from no one and nobody—and that’s nice, I suppose. At the end, a hovering, pink Cave Carson telegram tells everyone to high-tail it to his position because he and Swamp Thing have discovered something important!
It all wraps up with a backup featuring the Formless Girl, a character who has an origin similar to Rita Farr’s with more disgusting results. It’s cool enough, but the artist’s intent to crib that Silver Age drawing style was a bit off the mark. All together, I thought this was a pretty cool and enticing issue, which laid out the story, strange as it is, pretty well despite not getting whatever information was/is contained in Doom Patrol #11, which was supposed to be out by now. It’s been a little while since I saw Aco on pencils, and boy they do a terrific job on this, rendering Nick Derington’s character designs expertly and applying their usual flourish to layouts and plotting. This is a solid opening to this event, one that makes up for the deficiencies of the series that purported to spawn it. If it keeps up like this, I could end up enjoying the whole thing!

Bits and Pieces:

The story kicks off abruptly and is immediately suffused with high weirdness that does not abate right up to the last page. Some new character designs offer fans of the JLA some interest, while those reading Young Animal titles will feel right at home among the strange. You might, too! Give this book a look, even if you aren't normally so inclined.



  1. I'm intrigued but Steve Orlando scares me off it!

  2. I was lost. Worse than Grant Morrison. A beautiful mess. I’m out.

  3. There is no Doom Patrol without Mento, Elastigirl, Beast Boy and Dorothy Spinner.